New boys can provide the lift Norwich City so badly need for the dogfight
Football is a funny old game, a certain television pundit once said. Saturday was one of the most depressing days I remember as a City fan for some time.
Of the week...
Hoping agent GG has found a star
HERO OF THE WEEK: He was hardly a legend during his two years as a Norwich City player. It seems, however, that in his new role as an agent, Gaetano Giallanza has been a key reason why Timm Klose has signed. If the defender lives up to expectations, we will owe GG a debt of gratitude.
Too many City players just didn’t turn up
VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: There are plenty of contenders for this category after the debacle on the south coast. I thought Jonny Howson just about went home with some credit. The others were poor. They were second best all day and didn’t want it as much as Bournemouth.
Come on, Neil, get one over on United boss
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: I’ve covered the great signings in the main part of my column (and obviously there were no highlights at Bournemouth). So I’ll pick a witty performance on Sky News by my former colleague Neil Custis talking about his challenge with Louis van Gaal. We’re all behind you Neil.
You put your left arm in, your left arm out.......
FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK: No-one can say that being a football official is easy. For one linesman making a decision was particularly tough, though. He really looked like he was doing the hokey cokey. I’ve tweeted a link to the amusing footage.
Naismith is ideal man to net against the Reds
PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: Steven Naismith scored his first competitive goal for Everton in a Merseyside derby back in 2012. Assuming he makes his debut on Saturday, he’s certain to be really up for it – and what a game to score in.
It wasn’t numerically the biggest defeat of the season, but I felt it was the worst the team has played.
After the successful Christmas and new year period, we were in good spirits.
The Sergio Aguero-inspired FA Cup exit was not surprising and there were positives in the loss at Stoke. Being so comprehensively turned over by relegation rivals whose players were so much more up for it was grim.
Three days later and the moodchanged dramatically once more.
The signings of Timm Klose and Steven Naismith – yes, about £16m shelled out by the board in 24 hours – have excited fans and proved that those who run our club are ambitious as well as prudent.
We don’t know too much about Klose, but he looks the part and has been highly praised by former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves who played so much of his football in Germany.
The reaction of Everton fans to losing Naismith says so much about what a great capture he is. A club of that size is looking to bring in really top class international players.
The supporters expect that. So for us to take a man who means so much to them is a coup, make no mistake about it.
Striker-turned radio pundit Stan Collymore tweeted: “Would have loved Naismith at Villa. Exactly what we need. Experience, infectious enthusiasm, goals, a real nuisance! Good #NCFC signing.”
The duo – alongside Pinto – are not guaranteed successes. However, their arrivals undoubtedly make City stronger for the fight ahead.
The backline has looked shaky too many times this year. On Saturday it looked dreadfully vulnerable from the flanks and in the middle.
The new defenders will provide strength and mobility.
Naismith looks a natural leader and I’d make him captain straight away. He will also inject energy in to an engine room which has started to look lethargic.
And he scored a “perfect” hat-trick this season with his left foot, right foot and head. OTBC.
Keeping players fit will be so crucial for City
Fifth in the table – would you take that? Mmmm, yes I thought so.
That’s exactly where the Canaries are at the moment.
Ok, it may not be in the Premier League which is of course the one that really matters.
It’s actually in the latest PL injuries table put together by the BBC and PhysioRoom.com to analyse every injury this season and assess the impact on clubs.
Currently Watford are top with 182 days missed due to lay-offs from 10 injuries to nine players.
Newcastle are sitting bottom with an eye-watering 1042 missed days caused by 33 injuries to 18 players.
City are behind Watford, Leicester, West Brom and Swansea and the statistics show 243 days missed from 11 injuries to nine members of the Canaries’ squad.
Clearly there is sometimes bad luck in players getting crocked.
I firmly believe, however, that preparations and pre-emptive measures go a long way to keeping the guys fit.
I toured Colney a few weeks ago and was amazed by all the things which go on to give players the best possible chance of being available.
City haven’t got the biggest squad and the run-in is going to be gruelling.
Losing key men at key times could be the difference between staying up and going through the trap door.